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Thread: Best 2nd lens

  1. #1
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    Best 2nd lens

    <p class="MsoNormal"]I know that I have stated this before, but I will start by saying that I am new to digital photography and I am a new member of this site. I have spent a lot of time reading all of the postings and I have to say that I have learned more than if I just picked up a book (I have read three so far though). My question is this: I am looking for a better lens to replace my Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS. This lens is way too &ldquo;slow&rdquo; and I can never get the right amount of light. I have used it for outdoor photography (wildlife, landscapes, and pictures of the kids) but now that I know better, I want better. I would really like a quality lens that I can use to take pictures of the kids playing sports (mostly volleyball and basketball) as well as a general purpose lens to augment my current bag. I currently have a Canon Xsi (450D) with the kit lens (Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS) and the 55-250 that I mentioned earlier. I also just purchased the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens (thanks for all the advice) and I am really excited to get it. I was leaning towards the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM Lens (I just cannot afford the IS version) but after reading the Brian&rsquo;s review and some of your posts I am thinking the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM Lens would probably be best. I am planning to stay with the 1.6 crop for a while (maybe upgrade to the EOS 7D) especially with the 17-55 on the way. What do you guys think is better overall? I know that the 70-200 is great and that the f2.8 will allow me to get great shots even in low light, but from what I have read, it still won&rsquo;t do nearly as well as the EF 135 indoors (especially with the gym lighting). I only hesitate because I like the versatility of the 70-200. I cannot afford to buy both right now so I want to make sure that I get the most out of what I get. I have seen that the EF 135 has many uses and takes great pictures, but wouldn&rsquo;t the variable focal length on the 70-200 be a better &ldquo;second&rdquo; lens. Also, will I be able to make up the difference in &ldquo;speed&rdquo; between the 70-200 and the 135 with the ISO that I have with the Xsi? From what I have read, the answer is probably no.

  2. #2
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    Re: Best 2nd lens



    The 70-200mm lens is a great lens. I have the f/4 non-IS and do the same type of shooting you do, typically outdoor landscape/scenery type stuff. I rarely ever find myself going down to the f/4 with the exception of when it starts getting later in the evening. So perhaps the 70-200 f/4 is another option to look at? However, having the 2.8 would certainly be nice, and complement your 17-55 that you just purchased very nicely.





    I'm sure someone will come along with better insight than I, but good luck in choosing your lens!

  3. #3

    Re: Best 2nd lens



    I can't speak to the low-light performance of the Xsi, but I would think it wouldn't produce very satisfying results in a gym with poor lighting and a slower lens. So I would be more likely recommend sticking with faster lenses and not the 70-200 f/4 (even though that's a great lens). Can you "make up the difference" as you asked? Unknown, but you'll probably see an improvement in performance and decreased noise from being able to use a lower ISO.


    I have the 17-55 2.8 and love it. It's prone to dust specks, but that's quite minor. It's very sharp and has nice contrast even wide open, and the IS works very well. I also have the 135 f/2.0L and love it--it's one of those lenses that does things other lenses just can't come close to, the kind that makes people ask what lens you used for photos shot with it. That said, it's a little on the long side with a 1.6 crop body. I sometimes have a hard time handholding it even on my 1D Mark III, unless I'm using a fairly high shutter speed.


    I also have a 70-200 f/2.8 IS. It's nice and fast and the AF works well, although you give up some sharpness, contrast and color "pop" to get the faster speed. The zoom is indeed useful for sports. I've owned the f/4 version and it had better image quality, but like you, I wanted the faster aperture so I switched to the 2.8. I've never tried the non- IS version.


    Here's a twist: What about trying an 85 f/1.8? It's much lower-priced than any of the other options, and it would let in a ton of light. Having shot a ton of kids' sports, I would think this lens would be great for volleyball; maybe not ideal for covering the whole court for basketball, but with a 1.6 crop factor on your Xsi, and if you placed yourself near the backstop and shot from down low, you could probably get great shots as the kids approach the basket from about the distance at the top of the key. You could also use it for candid sports portraiture thanks to its narrow DOF, even at f/2.5 or so to improve image quality.


    Good luck and good shooting!





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  4. #4
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Best 2nd lens



    THe EF 135mm f/2L is an excellent lens, and f/2 is certainly appropriate for indoor sports. But the lack of flexibility with a prime lens may be an issue, depending on where you are. If you have freedom to move around the gym (sneaker zoom), a fast prime is good. But as Jeff said, 135mm on a 1.6x crop body can be a bit long, and the flexibility of the zoom will be something you'll miss. Jeff's recommendation of the EF 85mm f/1.8 is a good one - with the XSi, you have sufficient megapixels to be able to crop a bit if you need to (but with the 135mm, you can't digitally zoom out, so if you can't move back either, you're stuck). The EF 85mm f/1.8 is a great lens and an excellent value (I'm still trying to decide if I should keep mine, since I picked up an EF 85mm f/1.2<span style="color: red;"]L II last week.)


    I'd say it would come down to the 85mm f/1.8 vs the 70-200mm f/2.8 (you won't need IS as much when shooting sports, since you'll need fast shutter speeds).


    One suggestion - since you have a 55-250mm, check out the EXIF data on shots you've taken, or shoot part of a game with it set to 85mm or 135mm, and that may help with your decision on focal length. If you use them all, get the 70-200mm f/2.8.

  5. #5
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Best 2nd lens



    THe EF 135mm f/2L is an excellent lens, and f/2 is certainly appropriate for indoor sports. But the lack of flexibility with a prime lens may be an issue, depending on where you are. If you have freedom to move around the gym (sneaker zoom), a fast prime is good. But as Jeff said, 135mm on a 1.6x crop body can be a bit long, and the flexibility of the zoom will be something you'll miss. Jeff's recommendation of the EF 85mm f/1.8 is a good one - with the XSi, you have sufficient megapixels to be able to crop a bit if you need to (but with the 135mm, you can't digitally zoom out, so if you can't move back either, you're stuck). The EF 85mm f/1.8 is a great lens and an excellent value (I'm still trying to decide if I should keep mine, since I picked up an EF 85mm f/1.2<span style="color: red;"]L II last week.)


    I'd say it would come down to the 85mm f/1.8 vs the 70-200mm f/2.8 (you won't need IS as much when shooting sports, since you'll need fast shutter speeds).


    One suggestion - since you have a 55-250mm, check out the EXIF data on shots you've taken, or shoot part of a game with it set to 85mm or 135mm, and that may help with your decision on focal length. If you use them all, get the 70-200mm f/2.8.

  6. #6

    Re: Best 2nd lens



    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist


    shoot part of a game with it set to 85mm or 135mm, and that may help with your decision on focal length.


    Excellent idea from Neuro for anyone considering a prime lens. A little gaffer tape could help, er, "remind" one to stick to a specified focal length.



  7. #7
    Senior Member Dave Johnston's Avatar
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    Re: Best 2nd lens



    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist
    The EF 85mm f/1.8 is a great lens and an excellent value (I'm still trying to decide if I should keep mine

    If you plan on selling in the next few months, seriously. I may be interested in the 1.8.


    Dave.
    5D mark III, 50D, 17-40 f4L, 24-70 f2.8L, 70-200 f4L ​IS, 28 f1.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 100 f2.8 Macro

  8. #8
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Best 2nd lens



    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lucia


    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist


    shoot part of a game with it set to 85mm or 135mm, and that may help with your decision on focal length.


    Excellent idea from Neuro for anyone considering a prime lens.



    That's what helped me decide between the 35L and the 85L - setting my EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 to 35mm and shooting for a while, comparing that to my 85mm f/1.8.






    <div>


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Johnston


    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist
    The EF 85mm f/1.8 is a great lens and an excellent value (I'm still trying to decide if I should keep mine

    If you plan on selling in the next few months, seriously. I may be interested in the 1.8.


    Dave.


    <div>Thanks, Dave. Actually, though, I don't do the whole Paypal/shipping thing - usually stay local with Craigslist. The 85mm f/1.8 was (relatively) inexpensive, so I'm not in a hurry to sell. Sorry! But it is a great lens...</div>
    </div>

  9. #9
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    Re: Best 2nd lens



    Thanks again for the help everyone. I was thinking of using the EF 85mm f/1.8 lens but I was worried that it wouldn't get enough reach (since I will probably be in the stands) but I could probably crop enough to make up the difference. I was thinking about this today and I was wondering: Will the 70-200mm f/2.8L be enough to get good pictures in the low light of the gym or would I be better off getting the 70-200mm f/4 (non-IS version to save money) for the flexibility and the EF 85mm f/1.8 for indoor sports (to compliment the 17-55 f/2.8) and low-light shots? This option would save me about $300.00 but I want to get the best out of the money, so if going with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is best then I would spend the extra money. What do you think?





    Matt

  10. #10
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    Re: Best 2nd lens



    Quote Originally Posted by ElCid52


    Thanks again for the help everyone. I was thinking of using the EF 85mm f/1.8 lens but I was worried that it wouldn't get enough reach (since I will probably be in the stands) but I could probably crop enough to make up the difference. I was thinking about this today and I was wondering: Will the 70-200mm f/2.8L be enough to get good pictures in the low light of the gym or would I be better off getting the 70-200mm f/4 (non-IS version to save money) for the flexibility and the EF 85mm f/1.8 for indoor sports (to compliment the 17-55 f/2.8) and low-light shots? This option would save me about $300.00 but I want to get the best out of the money, so if going with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is best then I would spend the extra money. What do you think?
    <div style="clear: both;"]</div>


    Do the "focal length research" mentioned by others, and see what you find out. Then tell us what you find so we can help you better.


    I have friends who love portrait work and have the 85/1.2. He loves the 85, but of course wishes they had a 70-200 since they've tried my 70-200/2.8IS a few times. She wishes they had the 70-200, period. So some people are just better off with zoom.
    We're a Canon/Profoto family: five cameras, sixteen lenses, fifteen Profoto lights, too many modifiers.

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